Archive | September, 2012

If at first you don’t succeed…try seven years later

12 Sep

It’s no secret that baking – and well cooking in general if I’m honest – is relatively new to me.

My daily regime at university consisted mostly of chicken kievs and ready meals but on the odd occasion I did attempt to try my hand at being a domestic goddess.

One such occasion, which is sadly etched onto my memory for good, is the night I attempted to make toad in the hole.

I always thought I’d be good at Yorkshire puddings. I am from Yorkshire after all and the Watkins Yorkshire puds are quite famous (at least within the family anyway).

Turned out I was wrong.

I can’t quite remember why but the escapade ended in me nursing a bowl of goo in the microwave (can’t quite remember why the microwave was involved) and feeling utterly ashamed of myself.

This week I rectified that, all with the help of my new favourite book, Cook yourself Thin.

Now it would seem this book has been around for years. I for one, however, had never heard of it until a chance encounter at the local library on my lunch break.

“Toad in the hole – a healthy recipe?” you may ask. Yes is the answer, or at least slightly healthier.

Ok so one side of the hole is a bit dodgy but otherwise I’m incredibly proud of myself 🙂 
Oh and it was the first time I made my own gravy too!
As usual, here’s the recipe
For the toad in the hole:
65g plain flour
100ml skimmed milk
1 egg
1tsp rosemary
1tsp thyme
1tsp salt
black pepper
8 lean sausages (I used five normal sausages I had leftover in the freezer)
1tbsp oil
For the gravy:
1tsp oil
1 large onion
2 beef stock cubes
1 tbsp cornflour mixed with 2tbsp cold water
1. Preheat the oven to 200 deg c
2. Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the middle of the heap of flour. Pour the milk into the hollow then add the eggs and herb, salt and pepper and whisk. Leave to rest at room temperature.
3. Prick the sausages and coat in olive oil. Place in a large cooking dish and put in the oven for 15 minutes to brown. Once browned, pour the batter into the dish. Cook for a further 35 minutes or until the batter has risen and is golden brown.
4. Fry off the onion and dissolve the stock cubes and cornflour in 1 pint of boiling water before adding to the onion. Cook gently until thickened.
5. Cut the toad into quarters and serve with fresh vegetables. Spoon gravy over and enjoy!


The lighter way to enjoy cheesecake

10 Sep

Last week was a work colleague’s birthday – and everybody knows you can’t celebrate a birthday without cake!

Richard, however, said he preferred cheesecake, something I learnt by asking a not-so-subtle question which went totally unnoticed by him (and all the other blokes in the office)!

Since he’s always buying Maltesers – he can’t walk past them without buying them – I decided it had to be a Maltesers cheesecake!

The recipe came from the Good Food Network website and oh my it was delicious (although my icing skills could do with some work)!

In case you want to give it a go, here’s the recipe:


For the base:
125g melted butter, plus extra for buttering the cake tin
100g digestive biscuits
200g Maltesers

For the topping:
800g cream cheese
200ml soured cream
200g icing sugar
2 drops vanilla extract
100ml double cream
150g roughly crushed Maltesers, plus extra whole ones for decoration


1. Butter an 8 inch spring form cake tin with melted butter then leave to one side until needed.
2. For the base, whizz the base ingredients in a blender until they are like fine breadcrumbs (or, if like me your blender decides to break at THE worst possible time, bash to pieces using the end of a rolling pin)
3. Pour the crumb mixture into a bowl and add the melted butter. Mix everything together then tip into the cake tin.
4. Press it down so it is level and compact using the back of a large spoon then put the tin in the fridge for a good 30 minutes to firm up.
5. For the topping, put the cream cheese, sour cream, icing sugar and vanilla in a bowl and beat together until combined.
6. In another bowl, whisk the double cream until it forms medium peaks. Pour the whipped cream in a bowl with the cream cheese, sour cream, icing sugar and vanilla and fold gently together. Add the crushed Maltesers and fold to combine.
7. To assemble, take the tin containing the biscuit base from the fridge and tip the creamy mixture over the top of it. Spread it around to level and then bang the tin a couple of times on the work surface to make sure it touches the base mixture evenly and there are no gaps (I actually forgot this bit and it turned out fine but do it just in case)
8. Place in the fridge for an hour or two to set (I left it overnight just to be on the safe side). Once ready to serve, remove from the fridge and press the Maltesers in to the topping if using.
9. Enjoy!

I would definitely recommend you have a go, although it is quite sweet so you probably won’t want more than one slice.

Happy baking!